Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Wall of Silence

It is quite common to see Islamism (the term commonly used to describe 'extremist' muslims who reject western hegemony) described as an ideology that cannot be negotiated with. Apparently you cannot negotiate with people who are sworn to wipe out non-muslims, establish a caliphate and hate our freedoms etc blah, blah, blah. Of course, the poor deluded individuals who spout this racist nonsense have probably never met a muslim, much less spoken to one of the extremist kind. Ironically it is these very nutjobs who cannot be argued with because their rage, extreme insecurity and limited mental capacity make them not worth bothering with. Yet, even in more 'learned' media circles you hear the same basic rhetorical arguments used to justify continual conflict with the Islamic nations and the refusal to talk to Islamist groups. Conflicts Forum has this to say on the subject:

U.S. foreign policy has failed to differentiate between the many strands of Islamic activism that we see across the world today. During deepening crises in the region, the U.S. refuses to talk to the Islamists who can influence events. We don’t talk to Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Muslim Brotherhood. We shun Iran, Syria, and others................Our unwillingness to engage in dialogue with those who don’t share our view of the world has brought us to an impasse. Conflicts Forum is breaking through the wall of silence.

Our reach goes well beyond the Middle East; we work with Islamist groups in North Africa and Pakistan, we consult with Islamic political movements in South and East Asia. Though our focus is on forging an understanding with political Islam, Conflicts Forum engages the entire spectrum of Islamist societies - in cultural and economic realms as well as the political.

Our encounters with political Islam - with both non-violent and armed resistance groups - leads us to conclude that Islamism is above all political. The overwhelming majority of Islamists are striving to create just societies and bring about political reform in a region entrenched with inequity, that has long suffered the overbearing influence of foreign powers.

If the media were interested in peace rather than acting as mouthpieces of the neocons, they would delve a little more thoroughly into the work of organisations like Conflicts Forum. They could explain to the public what the perception of the muslim world is regarding our foreign policy. But of course, I am dreaming. Who on earth could expect the MSM to inform and educate rather than spread lies, propaganda and serve their corporate masters? Also, talking to Islamists to resolve the problems rather gets in the way of establishing bases and shipping billions of dollars of military equipment to our agents in the region. Better to just incinerate those who will not accept our 'way of life' or happen to be inconsiderately living on top of our oil.


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